Heaven Szent, ridden by Shauna Pennell, after winning the $1,500 Hunter Derby. Presenting are Nicole Schwartz of Neigh Savers and Lucinda Mandella of CARMA.

Heaven Szent, ridden by Shauna Pennell, after winning the $1,500 Hunter Derby. Presenting are Nicole Schwartz of Neigh Savers and Lucinda Mandella of CARMA.

Tracy Gantz

Heaven Szent Delivers at CARMA-Sponsored Show

Shows demonstrate versatility of retired Thoroughbreds.

Heaven Szent, a 14-year-old who never won a race under his registered name of General Attack, was the star of the April 12-13 Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, Calif.

The Siegel CARMA Foundation sponsors the horse show as a way to demonstrate the versatility of former racehorses. Owned by Suzi Bright of Carpinteria, Calif., and ridden by Bright and trainer Shauna Pennell, Heaven Szent won several classes, including the $1,500 Hunter Derby April 13.

“This was just fabulous,” said Bright, who won two classes aboard her horse. “I got him nine years ago. He’s like a dog—he would come sit on the couch with you. As far as I was concerned, he was heaven sent, which is how he got his name.”

Heaven Szent is a gelded son of General Meeting—Private Maid, by Private Account. Joseph and Linda DiPietro bred him in California. As General Attack he started 10 times with his best efforts three thirds; one each at Santa Anita Park, Hollywood Park, and Del Mar, in maiden $25,000 to maiden $45,000 claiming company.

Pennell also rode Liberian Freighter at the show. The multiple graded stakes winner of $759,090 has only been in training as a hunter for a little more than a year, having made his last start at Del Mar in 2012.

Liberian Freighter
Photo: Tracy Gantz
Liberian Freighter, ridden by Shauna Pennell.

The late Ed Nahem’s King Edward Racing Stable bred Cal-bred Liberian Freighter, a 9-year-old son of Bertrando—Anachristina, by Slewpy. Neil Drysdale trained the gelding for Nahem, Chuck Winner, and Shawn Dugan, Drysdale’s wife. Liberian Freighter won the 2010 Oak Tree Mile Stakes (gr. IIT), 2011 Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT), and 2011 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT). Red Outlaw, a half brother to Liberian Freighter by Tribal Rule, won this year’s Baffle Stakes at Santa Anita.

Patsy Van Dyke now owns Liberian Freighter and rode him in a couple of classes.

“Bertrandos make such great hunters,” said Van Dyke. “They are tall and elegant.”

Pennell said that Liberian Freighter has embraced his new job.

“He’s really come along,” she said. “He’s slow and quiet, and he loves his owner. He knows he’s famous, too. He was a great horse on the track, and he’s a beautiful mover.”

CARMA, the California Retirement Management Account, raises money to help retired racehorses. As part of CARMA’s mission, it partnered with Nicole Schwartz, board president of Neigh Savers Foundation, to put on a series of horse shows for Thoroughbreds in all disciplines.

The series began in 2013 with three shows, culminating in last year’s Christmas show. The highlight of that show was a Calcutta jumping event of teams made up of trainers and jockeys from the track. This year’s series is scheduled to continue with a June 14-15 show at Galway Downs in Temecula, Calif., and a Dec. 13-14 show at the L.A. Equestrian Center.